There are certain things you probably shouldn’t title your movie, like Lookin’ to Get Out or Drag Me to Hell for example, because if it flops you’ve pretty much provided critics with the basket for your ass to be handed back to you in. That said, the ugly truth about The Ugly Truth is that not even Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler can pretty up this lackluster romantic comedy. Even uglier, the writers, aspiring to Apatow-like comic crassness, simply crapped out a script that reads like a thesaurus entry for “penis.”
Directed by Legally Blonde’s Robert Luketic, The Ugly Truth pits loveless, uptight morning-show producer Abby (Heigl) against sexist host Mike (Butler), whose goal is to proudly expose the nefarious motivations of all men in order to boost ratings. It’s yet another movie in which we’re expected to believe that someone like Heigl is incapable of landing the man of her dreams when left to her own devices. Enter Mike, her new dating guru, with an ear piece, a hidden microphone, and a few Cyrano speeches, which nudge Heigl into a relationship Mike ends up resenting. Cue the predictable ending.
After filming Knocked Up, a role which helped Heigl transition to the big screen from Grey’s Anatomy, Heigl reportedly complained that her character in the film had come across as a demeaning, tight-wound stereotype of a working woman, largely secondary to Seth Rogen and the rest of the boys’ club. If that’s the case, she shouldn’t have gone anywhere near The Ugly Truth, (and let’s not even mention 27 Dresses), as she continues to play this role to unfortunate perfection. As for Butler, whatever happened to the airbrush-muscled dynamo of 300? After P.S. I Love You and this, he seems destined to scrape together Harry Connick Jr.’s leftovers — playing that same old scruffy shot-swigging guy who ends up with the woman in the end despite himself. Even a little kitschy butt-kicking is better than this.
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